There’s no other word to better describe the pit in your stomach and the ache in your heart. The torment that comes when a loved one doesn’t understand your faith.
No matter how hard you try, this loved one looks at you through Jesus-freak-colored glasses. The differing views on faith may begin quietly, but you can feel the resentment and the frustration building. And the sadness that this person whom you love doesn’t want to accept the truth.
A heavy heart
While some loved ones can accept our faith, others may not keep so quiet. Snide remarks and even arguments can easily become normal interactions. Which quickly drains the spirit.
This can produce a mixture of sorrow and anger in our souls. On the one hand, we desperately want our loved one to accept Christ. But on the other, we’re hurt and confused that someone we know and love could possibly attack something in our life of this importance.
The easy thing would be to just never bring up our faith unless outright asked. Or to slip away and slowly end the relationship. Neither of those options seem quite right, though.
Speaking in love
What should one of our first responses be when a loved one doesn’t understand our love for God? To not silence our faith. Don’t allow the hurt or the awkwardness of someone’s reaction to our love for Jesus stop us from talking about Him.
But expressing our commitment to our faith does not mean judging the words and actions of our unbelieving loved one. It doesn’t mean entering into arguments every time they test us. We’re supposed to talk in such a way that benefits those who listen. Does it benefit our friend when we keep quiet? No. But neither does it benefit anyone when we act no different from those who aren’t new creations in Christ.
It’s a difficult task to accomplish for those who love to argue and debate. And for those who tend to remain quiet in the face of conflict. Wherever your weakness lies in speaking in love, remember that you have no idea how God is working through you. Arguing—even if you see it as passion—might send the message that God is not love. Not talking about your faith might send a message Jesus isn’t worth it.
You don’t know how close your loved one is to softening their heart and choosing God. Use every opportunity you have to lovingly reveal just how real our Savior is. Provide grace and forgiveness for wounds received. Be the one to shed light on what it means to be trustworthy and honorable by the way you speak in love.
It’s no easy task, but don’t waste the time you have with this person whom you love so deeply. They’re worth you stepping away from comfortable to ensure the truth is revealed.
Never stop praying
Does it go without saying? Maybe. But do we truly grasp the importance and weight that our prayers carry? God hears our prayers and acknowledges them as powerful and effective. Why, then, would we ever stop asking God to reveal Himself to those who have hard hearts?
Our prayers can change things if we come to God desiring His will. Which means we have more than one reason to pray when a loved one doesn’t understand our faith. We pray for God to open their eyes, yes. But we also pray for wisdom and understanding for ourselves.
To know how to talk to this friend. To know how to forgive when they reject us. And to know how to release the agony our souls feel when we think about eternity in heaven without them.
Resting in God’s authority
It can be a heavy burden to carry if we’re not careful. The burden of thinking God placed us in this person’s life for a reason, so we must “succeed.” The burden of believing that we need to convince their hearts of the truth.
But we were never meant to carry that burden. Our role is to speak the truth in love and spread the Name of Jesus. God never asked us to change people’s hearts. He changes hearts. He opens eyes. While He desires to use us and commands us to go and tell every nation about Him, He doesn’t expect us to do the work that only He can do.
So rest today in this truth. Know God asks you to never shy away from talking about your relationship with Him to everyone, including your loved one who doesn’t understand why you chose Jesus. But also know God sees the agony of your soul. He knows how you weep for this friend. He will comfort you.
Everything else—the fear, the agony, the hurt—must be released to God. He alone can calm your heart. Because He alone saves.